By BEN LUCE – Published: July 18, 2010
This letter is in response to Washington Electric Co-op’s Manager Avram Patt, who recently argued that the majority of Vermonter’s support large wind power development here, despite its impacts.
As someone with technical expertise in renewable energy and a strong record of advocating for wind energy on the Great Plains, I do believe strongly that wind power can contribute significantly to our clean energy future. But I also believe that industrial wind development on forested ridge lines is horrifically destructive and inappropriate, and is not in fact needed for clean energy production in the US or elsewhere.
First, mountain ridges possess surprisingly little wind resource. For example, Department of Energy estimates indicate that Vermont’s entire wind resource is only 1 percent of Iowa’s, or closer to home, only 4 percent of the Gulf of Maine’s. It’s also actually less than 1/2000 of just the on-land wind resource of the contiguous United States. Our resource is miniscule precisely because it’s mainly located on narrow, widely separated, ridges, unlike in Midwest states or offshore.